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Abbots Bromley

"Abbot's Bromley, so called to distinguish it from Bromley Regis, and from its having anciently belonged to the neighbouring abbey or priory of Blithbury, is a decayed market town, consisting of one long street of irregularly built houses, at the east end of Pirehill Hundred, seven miles S of Uttoxeter, six miles NNE of Rugeley and twelve miles E by N of Stafford. Its parish is watered by the Blithe and several smaller streams, and contains 8360 acres of land, divided into the three liberties and constablewicks od Abbot's Bromley, Bagot's Bromley and Bromley Hurst, which have only 1508 inhabitants. Lord Bagot is impropriator of the great tithes, principal owner of the soil, and lord of the manors of Bagot's Bromley and Bromley Hurst, but the Marquis of Anglesey has the avowson of the vicarage, and is lord of the manor of Abbot's Bromley, which in some old writings is called Paget's Bromley, from its having belonged to the Paget family since the dissolution of the monasteries.
Bagot's Bromley, one mile NW of Abbot's Bromley, adjoins Blithfield Park, the seat of Lord Bagot, and had formerly a hamlet of eleven houses, which were pulled down about forty-two years ago, by Lord Bagot, whose ancestors had anciently a moated mansion here. About a mile to the NE is Bagot's Park, which contains many oaks of ancient growth, and numerous herds of deer. It belongs also to Lord Bagot, but Bromley Park, which lies a little to the south, is now enclosed, and contains about 1000 acres, all belonging to the Earl of Dartmouth.
At the north end of the parish are two districts of scattered farms, called Dunstall and Heatley, and at the south end is Bromley Hurst, a large manor, including Bentilee, an ancient mansion, belonging to the Marquis of Anglesey."
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Bibliography

'Abbots Bromley' 
by Marcia Alice Rice.
Published Wilding & Son, Shrewsbury, 1939.

'The Story of St Mary's, Abbots Bromley' 
by Marcia Alice Rice.
Published Wilding & Son, Shrewsbury, 1947.

'The Story of St Anne's, Abbots Bromley, 1874-1924' 
by Violet Mary Macpherson.
Published Wilding & Son, Shrewsbury, 1925.

'Blithfield Hall, A Descriptive Survey & History' 
by Lady Nancy Constance Bagot.
Published English Life Publications, Derby, 1979.

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Census

The population of Abbots Bromley parish was as follows:
1831 -- 1621
1841 -- 1508

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Church History

"Abbot's Bromley Church, St Nicholas, is a large handsome Gothic fabric, nearly in the centre of the town, and is a vicarage in the incumbency of the Rev JM Lowe, MA. The fine architectural character of the church was much injured by repairs in the Italian style about 1690.
Here is a neat Independent Chapel, built in 1824 and now under the ministry of Mr JD Hale.
At Woodlane is a small Roman Catholic Chapel. "
[From History, Gazetteer and Directory of Staffordshire, William White, Sheffield, 1851]

Postcard of St Nicholas Church c1920.

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Church Records

Church of England Registers
The parish register of the parish church of St Nicholas commences in 1558. The original registers for the period 1558-1961 (Bapts), 1558-1992 (Mar), & 1558-1992 (Bur) and Banns for the period 1844-1927 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Bishops Transcripts, 1668-1859 (with many gaps) are deposited at Lichfield Record Office.

Nonconformist Registers
The original registers of the Abbots Bromley Congregation / United Reform Church covering Baptisms, 1825-1977 and Burials 1839-1956 are deposited at Staffordshire Record Office.
Abbots Bromley Roman Catholic Chapel of St Alban had no separate register and entries can be found in the Wood Lane, Needwood, St Francis registers deposited at the Birmingham Diocesan Archive.

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Gazetteers

The transcription of the section for Abbots Bromley from the National Gazetteer (1868) provided by Colin Hinson.

Poorhouses, Poor Law etc

The parish became part of Uttoxeter Union following the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834.

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Social Life and Customs

The village of Abbots Bromley is famous for its annual Horn Dance, held every September, and believed to be connected to the rights granted to the inhabitants of the Forest of Needwood, once a royal hunting ground and in the centre of which the village is situated. The dance begins at dawn at the church and finishes in the afternoon in the main street, having taken in a large area of the locality covering about 20 miles. The performers include Robin Hood on a Hobby Horse, Maid Marion, a Jester, a Bowman, Musicians and six Deer-Men with ancient reindeer horns who enact a mock battle at the climax of the dance. The horns used in the dance are hung on the walls of the north chapel of the parish church.

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